Easy Spanish Lesson 5: Spelled Like English

Easy Spanish Lesson 5 -- Spelled Like English

In Spanish the very easiest words for English speakers are Spanish words spelled like English.

In Lessons Three and Four, we have seen the very easiest words spelled alike in both languages. Lesson Three had familiar English words in Spanish. Lesson Four had the less-familiar Spanish words in English.

Also, many other Spanish words spelled like English have been borrowed from other languages by both Spanish and English, some of which are featured in this lesson.


Below is a selection of just some of the many Spanish words spelled like English.

Spanish words spelled like English may have some of the same meanings in both languages, or may have some slightly different but related meanings.

Some of the many Spanish words spelled like English are recently borrowed from English, like 'internet', which are covered in detail in Easy Spanish Lesson 3.

Some others have been borrowed by both English and Spanish from other languages, like 'ballet' borrowed from French.

Since you will always recognize the Spanish words spelled exactly like English, only some are listed in this chapter to keep it short.

When merely listed, familiarity with these identical look-alikes from experience with them in English can make it harder to grasp that these are Spanish words.


Nouns Spelled Alike in Spanish and English

The greatest number of words that are spelled alike in Spanish and English are nouns. The following list contains many nouns spelled exactly alike in both languages, although many are pronounced differently in Spanish than English.

To help you appreciate that these are indeed Spanish words, the nouns will be listed with the article which often precedes them: el or la or los or las, all of which mean ‘the’.


The Spanish words below are followed by their pronunciations to help you realize that these foreign words spelled exactly like English are really Spanish words.

Some Spanish words are pronounced like English, and in the following pronunciation guide the Spanish words pronounced like English are enclosed in single quotation marks, as in: bar [‘bar’].

To keep Spanish pronunciation easiest, Spanish words are shown to have a similar pronunciation to English if the stress is on the same syllable, and the letters are pronounced enough alike that Spanish people will probably understand what you mean if you pronounce those words as you do in English. You may merely sound like you have an ‘English accent’ in Spanish.

Later you can listen to how Spanish people pronounce them, and try to mimic any small differences in pronunciation to make them sound more authentically Spanish. For example, the letter –i- in Spanish is always pronounced ‘-ee-’ [whereas in English it is often pronounced ‘-ih-’]

In most Spanish words, one syllable is pronounced with more stress than the other syllables. In this way Spanish is like English, which also stresses one syllable more than others in most words, and is something you are already familiar and comfortable with from English. So stress on syllables is another way that Spanish is similar to English.

In the Spanish pronunciation guide, the syllable to stress is in capital letters.

The easiest introduction to Spanish pronunciation is to pronounce each of these Spanish words spelled like English. By hearing how the Spanish pronunciation differs from the English pronunciation you are familiar with, you will begin to get an understanding of the Spanish pronunciation system.


Spanish Spelled Like English


alcohol -- [ahl-koh-OHL]

animal -- [ah-nee-MAHL]

artificial -- [ahr-tee-fee-see-YAHL]

Australia -- [ah-oos-TRAH-lee-ah]

auto -- [ah-OO-toh]

autos -- [ah-OO-tohs]

ballet -- [BAH-leht]

banana -- [‘banana’]

bar (place) -- [‘bar’]

beige -- [BEH-eesh]

bikini -- [‘bikini’]

bisexual -- [bee-sehks-WAHL]

brandy -- [‘brandy’]

capital -- [kah-pee-TAHL]

casino -- [‘casino’]

cereal -- [seh-reh-AHL]

cheque (BE) -- [CHEH-keh]

chocolate -- [choh-koh-LAH-teh]

cilantro -- [‘cilantro’]

club -- [kloob]

color -- [koh-LOHR]

control -- [kohn-TROHL]

croissant -- [kwah-SAHNT]

decision -- [deh-see-see-OHN]

digital -- [dee-khee-TAHL]

doctor -- [dohk-TOHR]

error -- [eh-RROHR]

exterior -- [ehx-teh-ree-YOHR]

fax -- [‘fax’]

favor -- [fah-VOHR]

ferry -- [feh-RREE]

film -- [feelm]

final -- [fee-NAHL]

folk -- [‘folk’]

gas -- [‘gas’]

gay -- [‘gay’]

golf -- [‘golf’]

granola -- [‘granola’]

gratis -- [‘gratis’]

habitual -- [ah-bee-too-ahl]

heterosexual -- [eh-teh-roh-sehks-WAHL]

homosexual -- [oh-moh-sehks-WAHL]

honor -- [oh-NOHR]

horrible -- [oh-RREE-bleh]

hospital -- [ohs-pee-TAHL]

hotel -- [oh-TEHL]

individual -- [een-dee-bee-DWAHL]

integral -- [een-tee-GRAHL]

interior -- [een-teh-ree-YOHR]

Internet -- [een-tehr-NEHT]

jazz -- [‘jazz’]

ketchup -- [keht-CHOOP]

kosher -- [koh-SEHR]

kilo -- [‘kilo’]

kiwi (fruit) -- [‘kiwi’]

legal -- [leh-GAHL]

local -- [loh-KAHL]

mango -- [‘mango’]

me -- [meh]

minibar -- [‘minibar’]

natural -- [nah-too-RAHL]

no -- [‘no’]

normal -- [nohr-MAHL]

original -- [oh-ree-hee-NAHL]

papaya -- [‘papaya’]

paprika -- [‘paprika’]

pasta -- [‘pasta’]

patio -- [‘patio’]

perfume -- [pehr-FOO-meh]

piano -- [‘piano’]

picnic -- [peek-NEEK]

pizza -- [‘pizza’]

plaza -- [PLAH-sah]

pop (music) -- [‘pop’]

Portugal -- [pohr-too-GAHL]

principal -- [preen-see-PAHL]

probable -- [proh-BAH-bleh]

protector -- [proh-tehk-TOHR]

radio -- [RAH-dee-oh]

rap (music) -- [‘rap’]

regular -- [reh-goo-LAHR]

roquefort -- [roh-keh-FOHRT]

sexual -- [sehks-WAHL]

simple -- [SEEM-pleh]

snowboard -- [ZNOH-‘board’]

solar -- [soh-LAHR]

surf -- [soorf]

tango -- [‘tango’]

taxi -- [‘taxi’]

taxis -- [‘taxis’]

tequila -- [‘tequila’]

terminal -- [tehr-mee-NAHL]

terrible -- [teh-RREE-bleh]

total (amount) -- [toh-TAHL]

trivial -- [tree-bee-AHL]

tropical -- [troh-pee-KAHL]

tutor -- [too-TOHR]

usual -- [oo-SWAHL]

vagina -- [bah-KHEE-nah]

vaginal -- [bah-khee-NAHL]

visa (passport) -- [BEE-sah]

vodka -- [BOHD-kah]

whisky -- [‘whisky’]



On a trip to Spain or Latin America, you will see signs in Spanish spelled the same as English:


BAR -- BAR -- [‘bar’]

CAMPING -- CÁMPING -- [‘camping’]

DIESEL -- DIÉSEL -- [‘diesel’]

EXCURSION -- EXCURSIÓN -- [ehx-koor-see-yohn]



INTERNET -- INTERNET -- [‘internet’]

TAXI -- TAXI -- [‘taxi’]


As mentioned at the start of this lesson, familiarity with these identical look-alikes from experience with them in English can make it harder to grasp that these are Spanish words, especially when they are merely listed.

Throughout the rest of these lessons, Spanish nouns spelled identically to English will usually be preceded by either el, la, l', los, or las so you don't confuse them with English nouns spelled the same way.

However, with Spanish nouns spelled differently than English ones, those articles will be omitted to simplify this book for you.

The rest of the Spanish-English cognates in these lessons have, over the centuries, diverged in spelling, and/or pronunciation, and/or meaning, or all ways.


Some Spanish words are spelled like English but have an accent mark over a letter in Spanish, like ‘súper’, (and some also have accent marks in English sometimes, like 'café'.

Spanish words are spelled like English but with an accent mark over a letter are the subject of the next Easy Spanish Lesson 6.



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